An interesting look at comedy, and the point of it all.

There is something about the idea of stand-up comedy that is utterly timeless; its the surviving thread of the oral tradition, which is something that was almost — but not quite — killed off by the written and printed word (which flipped the importance from who was telling the story to who came up with the idea for the story in the first place.)

Of course, among comedians — that is, the joke-tellers — the idea of a joke belonging to someone is important. (After all, there is a whole industry that revolves around paid writers giving material to well-known performers.) There was a bit of a fuss about it a few years ago when high profile comedians were tweeting other people's jokes without giving any credit. (It seems that Twitter care about this too, but probably for reasons to do with spam prevention rather than crediting comedians.)

I think the internet has a weird effect, in that it pushes away from the "author" and towards the "teller" — or rather, aggregator. Make a funny GIF and you might get some retweets. Make a listicle of funny GIFs and you can have a serious business on your hands. Complaining about theft of content (or "intellectual property") online is always going to be an uphill struggle, I suppose.